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Posts Tagged ‘How to Be Awesome Like…’

How To Be Awesome Like Claire Underwood

In adaptation, DNC, feminism, gender, How to be Awesome Like, Netflix, parenthood, reproductive health, spoilers, Television, TV villains on February 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Sarah S.

In the first episode of Netflix’s House of Cards, one recognizes immediately that Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) is Lady Macbeth to devious congressman Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) Macbeth/Richard III hybrid. But despite her overt support of villainy, Claire is easily one of the most fascinating women in a current series. Here’s how to be awesome like Claire Underwood.

-Marry not because you’ll be “happy” or “stable” or have a passel of children. Marry because your Intended promises you’ll never be bored.

-Know what you want and go after it.

-Look your age but with an unwavering running schedule, an amazing haircut, and a wardrobe of dresses to die for. (I love how this show plays off Wright’s star text by hearkening back to Princess Buttercup and her being the “most beautiful woman in the world.”)

claire2

-Have a hot, art photographer ex-lover in Manhattan on speed dial for whenever you’re feeling a little bit down and/or your husband is being an unsupportive ass.

-Have a true companionate marriage based on absolute honesty and respect and so

-Be pissed as hell when your husband begins to sacrifice your career for his and asks you to make compromises he’d never ask of himself.

claire1

-Be part of an interesting experiment in the evolution of “television.” House of Cards, Netflix’s foray into series making, has flaws but it’s super interesting on multiple levels nevertheless. If nothing else, am I irritated that Claire’s sense that her life is missing something is manifesting in her wondering if she should have had (and should pursue having) children? Absolutely. Because it’s boring and cliché and so obnoxiously obvious and typical—e.g. not like Claire at all. (Related, I also hate that in her discussion with her doctor we receive two pieces of medical misinformation: first, that despite what she’s heard her age is no impediment to a healthy pregnancy; second, that her uncomplicated abortions might have negatively affected her fertility.) However, perhaps we are supposed to think that this newfound desire is misplaced, given what we know of both Underwoods. Only time will tell if Claire will be crushed by the inevitable tumbling of this House of Cards.

How to Be Awesome Like April Ludgate

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

Sarah T.

Since my post on Friday played defense (with a few reservations) for Zooey Deschanel’s Jess on New Girl, it seemed appropriate to kick off the week with an appreciation of a character who’s pretty much Jess’s opposite: April Ludgate of Parks and Recreation.

Curb your enthusiasm, please.

What I love about April, as played with quicksilver wit and subtlety by Aubrey Plaza, is how layered she’s become over the course of the series. In early episodes, she’s a sulky intern with a semi-permanent sneer. Frustrated with her small-town Midwestern life, she’s the first to roll her eyes at anyone who displays the slightest sign of sincerity or enthusiasm.

But the warm humanism of Parks and Rec won’t let that kind of blanket negativity stand for long. Part of the change comes as April falls for Andy, a character fittingly described by Margaret Lyons at Vulture as “a human golden retriever.” In contrast to April, Andy exists in a constant state of delighted wonder at the workings of Pawnee, frisbees, peaches, and shoe-shining. His innocent sunniness brings out new dimensions in April: she’s lighter and more free-spirited around him, and touchingly protective. Meanwhile, April both anchors Andy and broadens his worldview.

April’s other relationships cast new light on her character as well. She bonds with her boss, Ron, over a shared dislike of productivity in the workplace. His libertarian gruffness intersects perfectly with her hipsterhood — he’s pretty much her second dad. The show also introduces her sister, nearly identical in both looks and temperament; her doting, bizarrely cheerful parents; and her friend Oren — a tall, pale, raven-like creature who’s constantly freaking everybody out by predicting the dates of their deaths and hiding under tables. Over the course of the series, April has evolved into a richly drawn character: still snarky and sarcastic and a lover of all things weird, and fundamentally good-hearted too.

And so, without further ado, here are a few ways to model yourself after the awesome sauce (April hates that word) that is April Ludgate. Read the rest of this entry »

How to be awesome like Georgina Sparks …

In Gossip Girl, How to be Awesome Like, teen soaps, Television, TV villains on March 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Phoebe B.

Gossip Girl’s Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) is one of my favorite television villains. We first met Georgina at Constance where once upon a time she was best friends (albeit briefly) with Serena (Blake Lively). These days their relationship, like all of Georgina’s, is fraught at best and enemies at worst. In earlier episodes of the series, Georgina drank too much; hid a man’s death after he died in her and Serena’s presence (something I think she blackmailed Serena about and perhaps also the beginning of the end of their friendship); and convinced Dan he was the father of her child and then abandoned said child (by the by Dan is not the father). Then, Blair exiled Georgina to Russia, which was after Georgina had found God and promptly gotten kicked out of her God-camp, perhaps also at the hands of Blair. And, most recently Georgina ruined Blair’s wedding to Louis. In fact, one of the reasons I think I like Georgina so much, besides that she is hilarious, is that she makes a good rival for Blair as she is perhaps almost as good a schemer.

Georgina dressed as a priest and set to ruin Blair's nuptuals

This season Georgina returned to New York married to a supposedly rich yet not so bright man, Philip, with her child Milo, and on a new mission to stir up trouble on the Upper East Side. And just this week it seems that she was successful. Indeed, Georgina did declare quite happily that it appears that she has just taken “down the entire Upper East side.” We’ve celebrated many wonderful characters and actresses in the “how to be awesome columns,” thus, I thought it was perhaps time to celebrate a good old TV villainess. So, while you might not want to be awesome like Georgina, after all, she is a little evil, here are some tips of things to avoid should you want to stay far away from the villainy behavior that defines Georgina Sparks.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be Awesome Like Hanna Marin

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on January 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Phoebe B.

As any viewer of Pretty Little Liars knows, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily are a force to be reckoned with. To celebrate the return of our mystery-solving teens to regular television programming, several of the Girls Like Giants crew teamed up to crack the awesomeness codes of the core four.

Hanna is one of my favorite PLLs (although I love them all for different and various reasons) in part because she is the funniest PLL, but also because just like the rest of them she is far from perfect. Part of what makes her so awesome is that she is both loyal and tricky at times; sometimes she gets hurt and makes crazy choices but other times she is the best of friends; I feel for her when A (and/or Ally) is mean to her (often more than for the other ladies) and I think her sense of humor often makes the show. So here are a few ways to be awesome like Hanna.

Hanna with some mighty fine shoplifted sunglasses

Most importantly, always cut tension between your friends with some humor and witty one-liners

Never use your powers for evil. Even when Hanna becomes the new “it” girl post-Ally, she is never mean (in the way that Mona is) and instead befriends Lucas (to whom Mona is quite cruel), joins the student paper briefly, and is an all around nice gal.

Be a super loyal and supportive friend to the other PLLS. For example, invite your best friend stay with you (Em) when her parents move out of town AND give your soon-to-be boyfriend a place to stay when he has no home (remember, Caleb briefly slept in the school library). Hanna is also seemingly always the first one to find out about the other PLLs secrets (for example, that Em is gay, about Aria and Fitz’s super secret romance, etc) and she is always 100% there for her friends. She even tries to intimidate a guy who is following Caleb in order to protect him (she thinks he is a police officer, although he is not). Hanna is just pretty much the best of friends. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be Awesome Like Aria Montgomery

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on January 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Chelsea Bullock

As any viewer of Pretty Little Liars knows, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily are a force to be reckoned with. To celebrate the return of our mystery-solving teens to regular television programming, several of the Girls Like Giants crew teamed up to crack the awesomeness codes of the core four.

It’s no secret that I, much more than most of my lady-friends here, adore Aria. She does dumb things, is super stubborn, is kind of sneaky, and is borderline boy-obsessed. However, there are also lots of great things about her. Want to channel awesome Aria?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with style. One of the things that I love most about Aria is her ever-changing, occasionally wacky-yet-dark sense of style. She isn’t afraid to be punk-rock chic on Monday and laced-up, prim and proper on Tuesday. Her style often reflects her mood rather than some lofty, solidified sense of self. She also embraces trends–even unfortunate ones (hello, dangly hair feather)–but is never apologetic about her choices because she simply doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s too busy having fun trying out different versions of who she might be through her clothes.

Love your family really, really hard. Most of Aria’s biggest mistakes happen with her family. She keeps a secret for her dad and she tells an almost two-season-long lie to her parents and her brother. However, she never hesitates to make her devotion and affection for her family known. Her parents, even when they probably shouldn’t, depend on her and treat her with respect. This means that even when Aria is making big-time mistakes, she returns that respect to them and trusts that their mutual love for one another will make everything okay in the end. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be Awesome Like Spencer Hastings

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Melissa Sexton

As any viewer of Pretty Little Liars knows, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily are a force to be reckoned with. To celebrate the return of our mystery-solving teens to regular television programming, several of the Girls Like Giants crew teamed up to crack the awesomeness codes of the core four.

Spencer Hastings is my favorite Pretty Little Liar, because I see a little too much of myself in her: skeptical, aggressive, competitive, driven, and rabidly loyal to the people she loves. Nobody else is as likely to drag the girls into hair-brained schemes that are aimed at vengeance or vindication…but that result in further complication. Her stubbornness and bossiness often create tension with the group of girls; her affection for older boys, especially her sister’s boyfriends, gets her into all kinds of family conflict; and yet she is a fiercely awesome leader and friend. So how can you channel Spencer’s awesome qualities?

Stand up for yourself and for your friends: Spencer often gets into trouble because of her smart mouth and her lightening-fast temper. On the other hand, though, she is a girl who knows how to stand up to the petty manipulation of high school and of murderers. She is the one girl that Ali feared because she refused to be bullied by her and because she would openly fight with her. Whether it’s standing up to Ali in the midst of sleepover, standing up to her sister’s husband Ian when she thinks he’s a killer, or standing up to her father when he refuses to tell her why he seems to be involved in sneaky cover-ups around Ali’s murder and is mean to her boyfriend Tobey, Spencer sets boundaries and speaks to them loudly. Sometimes her protective nature makes her seem bossy and controlling towards her friends, like when she goes to talk to Ezra Fitz about Aria’s budding romance with possible killer Jason; but as their reconciliation scene suggests, even then Spencer has her friends’ best interests at heart and will risk danger and open conflict to help them. Her penchant for conflict also comes in handy as the basis of many a ruse, like the recent season-re-opening battle with Emily that she stages to throw A off their conspiring tracks. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be Awesome Like Emily Fields

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Sarah Todd

As any viewer of Pretty Little Liars knows, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily are a force to be reckoned with. To celebrate the return of our mystery-solving teens to regular television programming, several members of the Girls Like Giants crew teamed up to crack the awesomeness codes of the core four.

How to Be Awesome Like Emily Fields

Be the hardest worker who has ever worked so hard. Emily’s athleticism is a big part of her identity, and with good reason: sports reward daily dedication and a desire to push yourself harder. She’s the best athlete on the swim team because she puts in the time and effort. When another girl on the team, Paige, tries to upset Emily’s game with homophobic comments and assorted low blows, Emily’s response perfectly summarizes her philosophy: “If you want to beat me, work harder.” What a perfect comeback: not only does Emily strike at the root of Paige’s insecurity, it’s actually good advice she’s giving. To a mean girl who just made a homophobic comment about her. That’s our girl.

Have serious self-respect. As Emily begins dating girls, multiple people try to use her sexuality to manipulate her or make her feel like she should be ashamed. A blackmails Emily and sends pictures of her kissing her girlfriend Maya to both Emily’s mom and Hanna. Paige tries to use Emily’s sexuality as a weapon against her, and Paige’s father does the same to the nth degree. But even as people try to make Emily feel guilty and wrong about who she’s attracted to, Emily becomes increasingly comfortable with her sexuality. When Paige eventually confesses that she’d like to date Emily, but not in public, Emily wisely but gently breaks off their budding relationship. “I’m not ashamed of who I am,” she says. “But I used to be. And if we have to hide like this all the time, I’m going to start to feel that way again.” Emily’s integrity encompasses but is by no means limited to her sexual orientation. What it comes down to is that Emily is growing up, and part of that process is learning how to refuse to betray herself–no matter what anybody else says or wants. She can be the strongest person in the room just by standing her ground.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to be awesome like…Olivia Benson.

In gender on December 8, 2011 at 2:44 am

Melissa Sexton

So, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write about anymore “bad-ass” chicks – I was going to try and branch out, embracing the lessons I taught myself in writing about Bella: women don’t have to be armed to be awesome.  I even made a good-faith effort and started writing about my favorite rom-com heroines, and how many of them dismantle stereotypes without a crossbow or combat boot in sight. But then I was watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, my favorite background show for busy work or mentally unplugging when I’ve become totally brain-dead. I’m a sucker for a good crime procedural. While I know the formula and can usually predict the outcome, I find something soothing in the repetition. But SVU remains my favorite of all the crime procedurals, and I know it’s because of the characters. There is a high energy connection between the chief, Captain Cragen (Dann Florek), his two primary detectives, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), and the rest of the crew – including my favorites, the psychiatrist Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) and the medical examiner Dr. Warner (Tamara Tunie). The show may be often unrealistic (if anywhere NEAR that many attacks occurred in holding cells and precinct offices, the police would stop being a viable association), but the relationships between the characters are incredibly realistic.  And Olivia Benson is a wonderful, complex, grown-up, messed-up, and admirable character that I love as I love few other primetime TV characters.

Beautiful eyes, but a gaze of steel.

So what is it that separates Olivia Benson from all the other sexy female cops out there?  I’ll tell you by suggesting how you can be as awesome as she is.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Be Awesome Like… Tami Taylor

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Sarah Todd
Friday Night Lights was a rare and beautiful ensemble show, and it is difficult to pick favorites within it. Nonetheless, I have a favorite, and her name is Tami Frickin’ Taylor.

The reason Tami Taylor is my favorite is this: the woman does not give up. As a guidance counselor and high school principal, she doesn’t give up on the lost, angry, confused teens dealing with not only the ordinary trials and tribulations of adolescence but also with serious socioeconomic and familial issues over which they have no control. She doesn’t give up on her husband Coach Eric Taylor, who is incredibly kind and upstanding in his own right, and adores Tami as he should, but who can be a bit stubborn when he’s in the wrong. She doesn’t give up on her perceptive but sometimes bratty daughter Julie. And she doesn’t give up on fighting the local powers-that-be who prioritize football over academics, money over education, old-boys networks over actual merit, and white privilege over equal opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

How to be awesome like Katniss Everdeen

In gender, girl culture on October 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Melissa Sexton

For Halloween this year, two of the GLG writing crew dressed up as Katniss Everdeen.  As my friend Brian said at the party, after he recognized my mockingjay pin with delight, “I’m surprised there aren’t more Katnisses.  I mean, I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it’s the obvious thing to be!”

Perhaps you are not as familiar with Katniss as we think you should be, and perhaps you don’t know why she is the obvious character every girl wants to be when putting on a costume. One of the reasons I ended up loving my costume, despite its limited recognition value, was because it allowed me to proselytize for The Hunger Games hard core and explain to strangers and old friends that Katniss is the most kick-ass heroine who survives a post-apocalyptic dystopian society by drawing on her own inner strength as well as the hunting skills that previously enabled her to provide for her family.  The movies are starting to come out next year, and trust me – once the films hit the public eye (and if the films manage to keep so many of the things I and many people I know love about Katniss) everyone will be wishing they could be Katniss.

So why do we love Katniss with such universal passion? [Behind the cut, I've separated my lists into spoiler-free and spoiler-filled categories so those hoping to read The Hunger Games trilogy needn't worry about finding out too much!]

Read the rest of this entry »

How to be awesome like Abby Sciuto …

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Phoebe Bronstein

For those of you out there who are not NCIS fans … Firstly, go home, turn on TNT around 5pm, and it is bound to be on and featuring Mark Harmon in all his glory. But this is about Abby Sciuto (Pauly Perrette) and her amazing and delightful and brilliant character. She is the forensic scientist of the NCIS team with multiple degrees in hardcore scientific things; she is has a grand Goth aesthetic and sometimes sleeps in a coffin; is on a bowling team with nuns; and is generally super cool (as is the other main female character on NCIS, Ziva David who is a badass former Mossad assassin. The women of NCIS are often awesome, I think) and I would kind of love to be friends with her. So here are a few tips on how to be awesome like Abby …

Have a PhD in Chemistry or something along those scientific lines but also an MA in criminology because you are badass.

Drink tons and tons of large caffeinated drinks that look like they are slurpies (Caf-Pows on the show). As a consequence, you might be super excited about everything and a little manic, but that’s okay because that’s how Abby is.

Wear crazy cool boots all the time and get a spider tattooed on your neck.

Be an amazing friend and care about your team, like they are your family.

Always wear your hair in two braids (or pigtails) and have great bangs. Such great bangs.

Never let people underestimate you. Nope not ever.

Drive a bright red Ford Model B (yup that’s right a car from the 1930s).

Have some super awesome computer hacking skills.

Be a forensic specialist with NCIS and solve murders all the time.

Have a stuffed hippo named Bert that makes farting sounds when you squeeze him (whom you occasionally perform CPR on).

Be fluent in sign language (a skill she developed it turns out as both her parents were deaf).

Give lots of hugs even to people who are not big huggers (For example, Gibbs played by Mark Harmon).

Be really respected and adored by your co-workers. Abby is beloved and trusted by her whole team who rely on her big time and all the time.

Be good at bowling and like to play on a team with nuns.

And I’m pretty sure there are a million other ways in which Abby is awesome, so if you are so inspired, add away!

How to Be Awesome Like… Veronica Mars

In girl culture, teen soaps on October 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Sarah Todd

“Veronica Mars,” Wallace proclaims with a grin in an early episode of everyone’s favorite teen detective drama, “you should hear what people say about you!”

Wallace is referring to the swirls of high school rumors that surround Veronica like a vituperative Starry Night, but she really should hear all the great things fans of the show have to say about her. Veronica Mars is a heroine for the ages. She’s tough, smart, sassy (50 points!) and flawed in the very real ways that most non-television characters are. The soul of Humphrey Bogart resides within that 5 foot blonde. What’s more, she’s a shining beacon of hope for anyone who’s ever struggled with self-esteem issues, because if there’s one thing Veronica has, it’s self-respect–the kind that starts with natural strength and gets honed by facing down a whole town that’s turned against her.

And so, without further ado: some ways to do awesomeness, VM-style.

  • Be a protector. Veronica stands up to power (most frequently in the form of Sheriff Lamb and the privileged 909-ers). Not only that, she does her best to convince people to stand up to power themselves. This exchange from “Hot Dogs” provides a great example: here, Veronica confronts a rich, popular guy who’s been picking on a girl who has a crush on him.

Veronica Mars: Did you crank call Mandy?
Dude: What if I did?
Veronica Mars: Well, I wanna congratulate you, shake your hand. Congratulations. You’ve been named the world’s biggest cockroach. This award is given in recognition of your unparallelled lack of decency and humanity. Bravo. You’re gonna die friendless and alone.
Dude: Hey everyone knows you’re the biggest…
Veronica Mars: Shut up! If I want you to speak, I’ll wave a snausage under your nose. If you use Mandy again to try to convince yourself you’re not a loser, I will ruin your life, got it? You got it?
Dude: Okay, geez.
Mandy: I can’t believe you did that…
Veronica Mars: I can’t believe that you didn’t! You want people to leave you alone, Mandy, or better yet treat you with respect? Demand it. Make them.

  • Never let people see their blows land. Whether it’s a big fake smile and a finger gun for Dick after he makes a gross double entendre, a snappy comeback, or simply walking away, Veronica never gives jerks the satisfaction of seeing her get ruffled.
  • If you ever have the opportunity, befriend the leader of the local motorcycle gang. He’ll be good in a pinch.
  • Know how to apologize when you’re wrong. Veronica’s not a perfect character, which is huge part of what makes her so great. She’s overly suspicious of others, big on revenge and payback, stubborn, and a bit bulldozing. However, she’s also a big enough person to recognize that she’s made a mistake and say she’s sorry. Most frequently, these apologies are to her dad or Wallace, the two people who love her best and are–perhaps as a result–most frequently manipulated by Veronica in the name of serving justicce.
  • When people underestimate you, use it to your advantage. People are always dismissing Veronica because she’s a tiny blonde teenage girl (not unlike a certain vampire slayer). But she turns dismissals into a weapon: since nobody suspects her, she’s all the more likely to crack a case. And the satisfaction of proving her doubters wrong gives Veronica extra motivation.
  • Be curious. The secret to Veronica’s success as a detective isn’t her hardboiled demeanor, persistence, or even her quick thinking. It’s that Veronica wants mysteries solved and discrepancies explained. Even when she doesn’t want to work a case, she ends up taking it on just because she wants answers. Her interest in the world around her, and in exposing the darkness underneath, is perhaps her biggest driving force.

What am I missing, Neptune fans? Please feel free to share your own Veronica-like awesomeness tips below.

How to Be Awesome Like… Leslie Knope

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Sarah Todd

This post is part of a new Girls Like Giants series, “How to Be Awesome Like…” in which we break down the steps necessary to become more like some of our favorite heroines. Whether it involves getting a sweet army jacket, brushing up on our archery skills, or mastering the art of French cooking, there are many ways to follow in the footsteps of these rockin’ role models. Got someone you’d like to celebrate? Email us at girlslikegiants@gmail.com. – ST

Previously: Phoebe Bronstein’s How to Be Awesome Like Jessica Fletcher.

Seasons two and three of Parks and Recreation are my ultimate TV comfort food. I like my comedies packed with silliness and warmth, and the show has both in spades. (Season one, by contrast–pre-show-makeover–is pretty depressing. If you’re new to the show and have similar tastes, maybe just skip ahead?)

Post-season one, however, Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope is a huge part of what makes the show work. She’s zany and dorky and kind and loyal and incredibly hard-working, the kind of lady I can only aspire to be. In order to help myself get started in Knope-emulation, I put together the following list. (A future column may also feature another Parks and Rec character, April Ludgate, who is badass in an entirely different way.) And so:

How to Be Awesome Like Leslie Knope

•    Sleep never; have more energy than a bouncy ball after six espressos.
•    Hoard newspapers (lovably) so that your house looks like “a crazy person’s garage.”
•    Refer to bathrooms as “the whiz palace” when you’re feeling nervous.
•    Tell your best friend she is beautiful whenever you describe her, and especially when you are also about to say something she might not like.
•    Love waffles passionately.
•    Fight for what you believe in; never stand down.
•    When crashing boy’s clubs, be sure to announce—loudly and repeatedly—that that is what you are doing just so everyone’s clear. Read the rest of this entry »

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